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  • phpBB How to Upgrade - From 3.1 to 3.2
  • News, Announcements, Feedback, Improvements, Changes and Policies.
News, Announcements, Feedback, Improvements, Changes and Policies.
 #20253  by ThemeSplat
 February 6th, 2017, 4:39 am
Upgrading to phpBB 3.2 may cause some extensions to no longer work as they might be incompatible with the new release. All premium styles will need to be updated as well, even if they give the appearance of working.
phpBB 3.2 is not completely backwards compatible with 3.1 and custom edits may no longer work. The easiest upgrade method is to remove all existing files prior to upgrading and re-applying custom changes after verifying their correctness.

A- Preparation
  1. Backup all board files and the database.

  2. Ensure that your server meets the requirements for running phpBB 3.2: Section 1.1, “Requirements”

  3. Download the full package.

  4. Unzip to your desktop and open the phpBB3 directory.

  5. Remove (delete) the config.php file, and the /images and /files directories from the newly downaloded package.

  6. In Administration Control Panel (ACP) > GENERAL > Board Configuration > Board settings

    • Default style: prosilver
      Override user style: Yes

  7. If spambot countermeasures are enabled: Administration Control Panel (ACP) > GENERAL > Board Configuration > Spambot countermeasure if the installed plugin used is not GD image, GD 3D image, Simple image, Q&A, or reCaptcha, then change it to one of those.

  8. Server configuration disable Gzip

  9. Deactivate any extensions which are not compatible with phpBB 3.2. Check with the extension author to find out if an extension is compatible or not.

B- Clean-up OPTIONAL
If you have more than a few EXTs or otherwise want to remove old entries from the database so you can start from a fresh forum by removing everything except for your users, topics and default configuration:
  1. Download and uncompress the Unofficial STK

  2. Upload the stk directory from Support Toolkit package to the root of your board installation. (You might need to rename the downloaded folder to “stk”)

  3. In your browser go to, login if necessary.

  4. Using the menus navigate to ADMIN TOOLS > Database Cleaner and run that tool.

C- File replacement
  1. Via FTP or SSH delete everything from your board installation on the server EXCEPT for the config.php file, and the /files, /images, and /store directories.

  2. Via FTP or SSH upload the remaining files and directories (from step iii above) to the root of your board installation on the server overwriting the existing files.

  3. In your browser go to

    1. Click the Update tab

    2. Click the Update button

    3. Select “Update database only” and click Submit

    4. Wait for the progress bar to reach 100% and for a message indicating that the update has completed

    5. Delete the install/ directory via FTP or SSH delete the /install/ directory from the root of your board installation.

    6. Time to install your new Premium Shiny Theme for phpBB 3.2 FLATBOOTS

    7. Grab some coolness here: marketplace.php

    8. You now have a new up to date board containing all your users and posts. All went well? You are LUCKY. Congrats!


    • If you use languages other than the standard British English you will need to find new language packs, upload those to the board, and install those languages again: ACP > CUSTOMISE > Language Management > Language packs.

    • Only use a good FTP or SSH client, such as FileZilla, to transfer the files. (File transfer utilities provided in host control panels can cause problems.)

    • Ensure that the root level .htaccess file is included in the upload. Some FTP clients do not show files whose names start with a period and you may need to enable the display of hidden files.

    • If your board made use of language packs other than British English, you will need to download a version that is compatible with phpBB 3.2 from

Common problems while updating

  • Do not put the board in Offline mode when you are about to run the update. (it will result in a phpBB error notice later on and you might be worried about something just broke :- ) )

  • For large boards, you may wish to update via the command line instead of using a web browser. From your board’s root, execute the following command: php ./bin/phpbbcli.php db:migrate –safe-mode

  • Are you on NGINX and PHP7 and the installer is not running? See my post here:

  • When uploading the 3.2 files to your server, do NOT overwrite your config.php.

  • When backing up your files, ensure that your FTP client is in binary mode or transfers files without extensions in binary mode.

This is quite lengthy process and it is suggested only if you already have experience with phpBB and an update process. Make sure you also have enough time as you cannot just interrupt it and resume it later. I am Available as usual to perform the update for you if you prefer to avoid headaches. I will be charging depending on the board size and update type, migrations etc. Contact me via PM or email for a quote.
 #20276  by gringoh
 February 6th, 2017, 4:02 pm
Hi guys,

I have quite a lot of updates to do (see below):
PHP_update.png (79.86 KiB) Viewed 26568 times
Considering the number of updates to do, I was considering to update to PHP BB 3.2 first to save some time later.

What do you think, should I try to update to 3.2 or only updates my ext on 3.1?

Thanks for your feedback,
 #20286  by Leinad4Mind
 February 6th, 2017, 6:35 pm
If you’ve all running great, don’t update all. I would update 1 by 1, so if some bug appears, you know it was by that ext. You need to be sure that you’re installing 3.1 extensions. I always check the composer file that comes with the extensions. And wait for 3.1.11 and maybe stick with it 1 more year. But if you want to go to 3.2 road, that will implie a lot of more future updates. (3.1 is almost end of line so after 3.1.11, we will just have 3.1.12 with luck, and if needed. since 3.1 its already very stable.)

If you prefer to go to 3.2, you need to check first if all extensions are already ported to 3.2. Or if you don’t mind to lose some them. (Its a matter of time till all gets 3.2 too)

 #20287  by gringoh
 February 6th, 2017, 7:41 pm
I have just started a test with phpBB 3.2 all went ok for sitesplat ext excepted for 1: BB sidebar, I get the following message when I tried to enable it:
Capture.PNG (12.54 KiB) Viewed 26542 times
 #20288  by Leinad4Mind
 February 6th, 2017, 8:42 pm
I assume you’ve update from 3.1 to 3.2, since you’re reporting here. So you have maybe forgot to disabled all extensions before updating?

To solve that issue, maybe just deleting data…Or better you can manually delete the ACP module on ACP - System - Admin Modules. This should be enough to fix it.
 #20312  by gringoh
 February 7th, 2017, 11:08 am
I have strictly followed the How to above and ALL ext were disabled before to proceed with the 3.2 update.

As BBSidebar is not storing custom user’s data in the SQL database, I have tried to click on Delete data and then Enable it again but I have the same error message!

I also tried what you have suggested Leinad4Mind, to delete manually in ACP module but there wasn’t any entry.

So what I did: I have restored my forum, then I followed the How to above excepted for the BBsidebar Ext, for this one I had it Disabled first and then I have Deleted the data. Then the installation was ok in 3.2.

I think all the ext that I am using are working on 3.2 so that’s why I am trying to update my forum on my sandbox account.

I think it is also useful for Dave to have beta testers/users on 3.2 to report potential issues with his ext.

 #20319  by gringoh
 February 7th, 2017, 12:54 pm
2 hours after here the ext installed and working fine after a first check, now the second step intensive test to see if there is no bug or issue with those ext.
ext_ok.png (113.37 KiB) Viewed 26473 times